The Karnataka Sports Association for Physically Handicapped is all set to host its 31st State Para Athletic Championship from 28 February 2021 in Mysuru’s Chamunda Vihara. In one of its posters shared on Twitter the association listed down the criterion for the participants. And it is where all they all went wrong.
The criterion mentioned in the poster reads:
Entry only for person with (sic) Physically Challenged, Dwarf, Blinds, Mentally Retards.
While the words they have chosen are offensive to be the least, it seems the Association barely has taken any cognizance of where they have gone wrong. Padmini Chennapragada, a trained Physiotherapist who has created and leads the AdaptedSportsIndia movement to encourage and educating Indians with disabilities to take up sports, twitted the photo with a quote:
@ParalympicIndia utter shame to see one of the events sanctioned by you using this disgraceful word ‘Mental Retards’ to refer to persons with intellectual disability. Can I know why in 2021 your leadership still fails to avoid such blunders? @DeepaAthlete care to comment?
@ParalympicIndia utter shame to see one of the events sanctioned by you using this disgraceful word ‘Mental Retards’ to refer to persons with intellectual disability. Can I know why in 2021 your leadership still fails to avoid such blunders? @DeepaAthlete care to comment? pic.twitter.com/yIMh7E1VXp
— Padmini Chennapragada (@Jussri) February 23, 2021
Manasi Joshi, India’s world champion para-badminton player responded saying, “Oh no, that’s not acceptable.”
The verb “retard” means to hinder or to make something slow. “Mental retardation” was introduced as a medical term for people with intellectual impairments, replacing terms that were considered to be more offensive.
It was introduced as a neutral term by the American Association on Mental Retardation in 1961 and was adopted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM).
Over time, the word “retard” came to be used as an insult, tossed around the playground as a synonym for “stupid” or “idiot.” It was not respectful of those with intellectual disabilities to have the word used in that way, even if the taunter wasn’t aiming the insult at that group.
New terminology was adopted for the DSM-5 in 2013 and in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) in 2015, replacing mental retardation with intellectual developmental disorders and intellectual disability.